8 January 2016 - 15:24

The first Heroes of the Storm LAN of 2016 kicks off tomorrow

A crowdfunded Heroes of the Storm event gets underway tomorrow at California's Esports Arena
Morning Editor

A crowdfunded Heroes of the Storm event gets underway tomorrow at California's Esports Arena. The Heroes Rising event will give fans a first glimpse at some new-look rosters, as well as some new teams looking to challenge in North American Heroes of the Storm.

Over two days, ten of North America's top teams will battle it out for a share of the prizepool of just over $12,000.

World Champions Cloud9 are easy favorites to take the title. Returning after a disappointing top four finish in China's Gold Series last month, the team signed Taylor "Arthelon" Eder to replace Heroes of the Dorm champion Fan Yang in the Carry role. The new lineup will compete together for the first time.

Cloud9's old rivals Tempo Storm will be looking to reignite the battle between the two teams, which highlighted most North American competitions in 2015. It will have to do it, however, with an almost unrecognizable lineup. After dropping Eder and Christopher "Zuna" Buechter and captain Wade "Dreadnaught" Penfold stood down, the team has been locked in trials and preparations to debut its new lineup.

Though the team still officially only consists of Kurt "Kaeyoh" Ocher and Josh "Sold1er" Miller, Quinn "Srey" Fischer and Francisco "Goku" Avalos are widely expected to fill the spots left by Eder and Buechter. In the support role, Brian "Zixz" Skarda, formerly of Cloud9 Vortex, appears to be the frontrunner. Officially the Tempo Storm roster for the event is yet to be confirmed.

COGnitive Gaming's players have decided against finding a new sponsor after initially planning to split with the organization. The team will be playing with Ben "Cattlepillar" Bunk, formerly of compLexity Gaming, and John "KilicK" Gelou, last seen with eLevate in place of Mike "Glaurung" Fisk and Joey "Hospital" Gavlas who left the team over the holidays.

Two new teams will also be looking to mount a challenge. The still-unsponsored Bob Ross Fan Club, formed by Eder and Buechter after their departure from Tempo Storm, is a collection of players previously considered among the best unsigned talent in the region. Alongside Buechter and his brother Ken "kenma" Buechter, former CompLexity captain Stafford McIntyre and Aaron "erho" Kappes rounded out the initial lineup.

After losing Eder to Cloud9, the team decided to make a straight swap and sign Fan Yang to fill the vacant spot. The team could play Cloud9 in the second round of the bracket, assuming they make it past fellow qualifiers oVo.

Team Blank, who will now be representing SK Gaming, have gone through a number of changes but are still led by Seth "Aragagi" Fitzpatrick of SK Gaming and former COGnitive Gaming player Austin "Shot" Lonsert.

Panda Global and Murloc Geniuses also earned invites to the tournament, with Team Blaze, oVo and King of Blades Alpha coming through the qualifiers to round out the lineup.

The event gets underway tomorrow, and will feature Tempo Storm coach Jared "Zoia" Eggleston and Jaycie "Gillyweed" Gluck in the casting booth.

Image via Esports Arena

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